Michael Jackson was to have kicked off his "This Is It" tour at London's O2 Arena today, July 13.
If he were still alive today, his father Joe Jackson says the King of Pop never would have been able to perform at all 50 shows. In a new interview, he tells ABC News his son – who died June 25 at the age of 50 after suffering cardiac arrest – was pressured into too many dates. (The shows were expected to generate $100 million in ticket sales.)
"The comeback tour was a good idea, but the wrong idea about it. There were more tours added onto it," Joe says. "Michael told me himself. That he agreed to 10 shows. But they went and added all these other shows." Adds Joe, "I was worried about his health because all the shows that I'm seeing — no artist can do those many shows you know, back to back like that," Joe Jackson said. "And so I knew Michael couldn't do all those shows."
Longtime friend and sometimes financial advisor Leonard Rowe, no relation to Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe, also had his concerns. "Michael Jackson was not ready. He was not fit," Rowe says, "[unless] you can call weighting 110, 115 pounds fit."
But the tour's producers have said that Michael was in top form and would have had lots of rest during the run, which would have extended through March 2010.
AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips says Jackson would have averaged two-and-a-quarter shows per week. "If that was too many, then one would have been too many," he tells ABC News. He adds that it was Michael's idea to up the amount of performances to 50, from the original 31. But Rowe says he called Phillips before the singer's death and tried to get him to agree to a lower number of shows, but Rowe says Phillips "told me to shove off. He didn't want to talk about it." Over the weekend, LaToya Jackson told British press she believes Michael was "murdered" as part of a conspiracy to steal his money and assets. Joe Jackson agrees. "I do believe it was foul play," he tells ABC News. "I do believe that. Yes."
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